The Ottawa Senators are one of the toughest teams to figure out this year. A mediocre offense and a less-than-stellar defense doesn’t sound like the ultimate recipe for success in today’s NHL, but the Sens are right there in the playoff conversation nonetheless. They may find it difficult to go far in the playoffs if they continue to post the same kind of numbers that they have been.
Offense:C When Dany Heatley demanded a trade from Ottawa, he broke up one of the most lethal lines in the entire league, as he and former linemates Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson had been terrorizing opponents since being united. Alfie is still this team’s leader, both on and off the ice, and leads the team in scoring. Mike Fisher is enjoying the best season of his career(getting engaged to Carrie Underwood can’t hurt your confidence), and Milan Michalek has been solid. Alexei Kovalev is a proven, if aging, scorer that can still put points on the board, and gives the Sens an extra gun to follow Alfie and Spezza.
Defense: C Chris Phillips leads the blueline with a +10 rating, but every other defenseman on the Sens is either negative or hovering dangerously close to even. The Sens have allowed more goals than any other playoff team, and will have to do a much better job in their own end if they want to make any kind of run this year.
Goaltending: B- Pascal Leclaire was supposed to be the starter in Ottawa this year, but young Brian Elliott has been far better in net. With 29 wins, and a very respectable 2.53 GAA and .910 save percentage,Elliott has shown the ability to steal a game on his own, and, at the very least, gives Ottawa a chance in most games. How he fares under the incredible pressure of the postseason remains to be seen.
Special Teams: B Ottawa’s powerplay could use some help. With only 45 powerplay goals through 77 games, the Sens have one of the lowest goal outputs with the man advantage in the league. Their penalty killing, on the other hand, is very good, ranking up there with Pittsburgh and Phoenix at 84.4%.